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All the King's Man: Part 7 (the end!)

Title: All the King's Man
Fandom: X-Men: First Class
Pairings: Charles/Erik, Charles/Emma, Charles/Other(s), Azazel/Raven, Sean/Moira, possibly others.
Warnings: Courtesans, mpreg, anatomical impossibilities, dubcon, Shaw is always a douche, attempted noncon, (evil) character death.
Summary: Erik is the king of Genosha, Charles is the son of Brian Xavier, a former merchant who has since died. Charles' stepfather, Kurt, has designs on marrying Charles off to a business associate, but Charles takes matters into his own hands and enters into life as a courtesan in Erik's court where he comes to Erik's attention.
Work will eventually get up on AO3 if you want a download. Mostly unbeta'd at present

~20~


He'd told Emma of the poison as soon as he'd been certain. Emma had told Logan as well. It would have to be delivered through a cut, introduced to the blood stream, so they - thankfully - did not have much concern for the king's food. He'd also told Hank about the poison and its nature, given him a few sprigs of the herb, although he doubted Hank would have much luck. A day passed with no attacks; Logan had taken to stationing himself near the king's chambers at night and shadowing him as inconspicuously as possible during the day. Logan slept rarely, when the king held an audience, assuming no one would be quiet so stupid as to attack the king in the midst of his court.

Charles spent most of the first day yammering to his unborn child, nervous, awkward, and strained. "I love you." He said that almost constantly. "Your father will be fine; Logan was in he army, he's brilliant, your uncle Hank is working on an antidote, and aunt Moira and your other uncles are away and safe."

His stomach gurgled, not hungry, just food rumbling around. Nerves had brought his nausea back in full force.

"Stop that," he said, smiling. He got up to stretch his legs again, the waiting was killing him.

The next day, his food arrived from the kitchen along with a serving girl who informed him - quite happily - that the Cardinal had returned early that morning. Soon. Maybe even today. She left him in peace and he started to eat his breakfast.

"Be careful." He continued to speak to the swell of his belly, as though it could hear him. "I want you safe, and... loved, warm and well fed." He sighed again, his body had picked up all manner of aches from his pregnancy, his back, his knees, and he knew it would only get worse. "Alright? You mind me and..." He fell silent, just stroking. "Be good."

He spent the rest of the morning stretching, bending, and moving in ways that Hank had instructed him so that he would stay limber and fit through the pregnancy. A healthy omega meant a healthy baby, and although Hank wouldn't be so insensitive to say it out loud, he seemed a bit concerned that Charles hadn't eaten as well as he should have for the earliest stages of the pregnancy. Charles had committed himself immediately to his and the child's health as soon as he'd known. It was hard, though, with nerves constantly draining him and making him worried.

"Your father can be a bit of a dunce sometimes." His back twinged. "Don't tell him I said so, alright, my darling?"

There was no avoiding the fact he was now showing no matter the garment. The bump was still disguised in the vaguest sense, since it seemed very few people actually expected him to be pregnant, and the folds of fabric weren't stretched taught enough to leave no room for debate, but he was very obviously pregnant now. It meant, guards or not, he couldn't afford to be wandering and having more eyes on him, one casual brush of the hand would end his charade. If Erik came to visit again he would likely have to enlist the help of a cleverly placed fruit bowl or something.

He prodded the harpsichord in his room, playing something soothing. He'd heard that was good for the baby. It also helped calm his own nerves.

"How quaint."

Charles' head snapped up from where he was playing to see Cardinal Shaw sliding his way into the sitting room. He felt exposed, his back to Shaw, but to turn would mean... well there were no carefully placed bowls of fruit to use. "Your Eminence."

He stood, hiding his belly as much as possible by bowing low and then placing a couch between him and the Cardinal. The action made Shaw smirk, and was almost enough to make him wonder if Shaw knew, somehow.

"You'll be happy to know His Majesty has talked me into graciously lifting your house arrest." Charles was happy, but that only made him more wary of what was coming next. "The guards have been removed, you have your liberty, and the investigation has ended."

"How..." Charles searched for a word, found none appropriate. "Thoughtful."

"I thought so as well." Shaw circled, it was hard not to notice that the Cardinal now stood squarely in the door, blocking any escape route. "It's too bad, though."

Charles could feel it, the tension of waiting for the other shoe to drop. "Oh?" He could play along for now. Shaw seemed to be in the mood to play with Charles, tease him, maybe he could get the man to make a mistake.

"Well, with you taking advantage of my generosity." Shaw said it like he was a very slow, very dumb child.

The sinking feeling continued. "And how am I going to do that?" Charles thought he might know the answer, he was terrified he might know the answer.

"By slipping into the king's chambers and killing him."

Charles whimpered, fought against the urge to touch his belly, but he did close his eyes, sending a silent prayer to whatever god didn't favor Shaw that Logan was close and could handle whatever was coming. "You're going to just take his cousin, then, control him the way you have Erik for so many years?"

"I knew you were too clever," Shaw answered, eyes following Charles and watching him, Charles circled slightly around the couch, there was nowhere he could go, although... if the guards were truly off the doors, he might be able to get passed Shaw and out into the hallway. "You must be fantastic."

From Shaw's tone there was no doubt what the Cardinal thought was fantastic about Charles, and it was not his intellect.

"Perhaps Erik just needed someone to guide him. He's a good man."

"A good man who doesn't go to see his lover for months?"

The blow stung, more than it should have. "He had his reasons." Charles thought they were poor reasons, but reasons nonetheless. "He's the king, it's not easy to have that weigh on you. Perhaps if you lightened the load for him instead of trying to control him..."

"Oh, I will lighten his load, or, I should say that you will."

"You can't get away with this for long." It made Charles think he would not long survive if Erik did get assassinated. "Too many questions, too many obvious holes in the story. People will notice."

"People will think what I tell them to think. They are miserable little ants."

"They are Erik's subjects."

"And they could have been your subjects if you were just a little more vapid."

The idea hurt. Shaw was all but admitting he'd kept Erik from marrying Charles for no good reason, spite, even. But he knew that Erik never would have loved him if he didn't know about coffee and birds and trading. Erik loved all of him, not just the man he was between the sheets. It was only that part that Shaw seemed to think counted. He was a little miserable man.

"They'll be my subjects when I've exposed you for the fraud you are," Charles snapped back. "After I've thwarted your assassination plans and helped Erik make peace with Klettgau."
<<<>>>
"You always were the ambitious one, Master Xavier. I knew that right away. And I suppose they will be your subjects, eventually, after a fashion."

Charles flinched, he balked, he had no idea what Shaw was driving at. "What do you mean?"

"Oh, Joseph is well enough, he's young enough that I have no doubt I could bring him under my thumb eventually, he idolizes Edith, of course." The use of the Queen's first name didn't go unnoticed by Charles, the over familiarity that Shaw seemed to think he had earned with her was distressing even as he already struggled with his emotions. "But wouldn't it be so much better to have Erik's child on the throne?"

So Shaw had known... "All of this just to put Erik and my child on the throne?"

"Who said anything about the child being Erik's? Nonono, in a few months, after Edith has returned to the throne as Joseph's regent we will have the happy news of your pregnancy."

A few months? Charles frowned, confused; his pregnancy would be hard enough to hide in a few weeks. But then it hit him, who said anything about the child being Erik's? He could feel the bile rising up in his throat. "And who... exactly, do you think will be the father of the child?"

The grin on Shaw's face answered the question easily. "I'm not a man without ambitions."

The depth of this man's depravity truly knew no bounds. "You would legitimize your child, saying it was Erik's bastard?"

Shaw answered by very deliberately leaning back and throwing the bolt lock to the den where they were. Charles had no doubt the bolts to his quarters was similarly locked; each door would present a difficult barrier. It would slow him down, and he was already not as graceful as he might have been, weeks trekking through the jungle had made him fit, but months locked in the Tower had made him slow.

He glanced behind him. The windows were not an option; he was on the third floor and even though he might have risked his leg or arm in a fall it was not that simple now, he could not risk his child.

Raw panic started to overtake him. His goals were simple: get out, get to Erik, save Erik. The way to his goals was unclear. The two of them began to fumble around the room, Charles grabbing at furniture and blocking the way behind him only to have Shaw come at him from the other direction, sending him stumbling over the furniture he'd previously upturned.

Shaw had longer legs than him, and even though his Cardinal robes were long he had far more experience in them than Charles had in being four months pregnant. He was panting, nervous, first things first, the door.

He scrambled, reached the door, grabbed the lock and threw it, but Shaw was behind him before he could open the door, his hand hard on it. Charles tugged, the door would not budge, not with Shaw's weight on it. A few seconds later he was pinned, an arm on each side of him, Shaw looming over him, pressing him close with his body. Charles twisted, hit the Cardinal in the side with an elbow, but Shaw grabbed him and flung him down.

Instinct took over, Charles' hands flew out to stop him from hitting the floor, but he landed, pain jolting up his arms and knees, he struggled to stand, but his arms buckled slightly under him. No...

Shaw was on top of him in a moment, his knees neatly pinning Charles' legs wide, the pressure making it impossible for him to kick out. He tried to twist, tried to find somewhere to scratch, but every time he moved Shaw grabbed the back of his neck and shoved him to the floor. "Stay down, you little bitch."

Charles tried again. Shaw slammed him down again.

"Or don't. The fight makes it more fun."

The thought made him retch, damn... hormones, damn body. Think of Erik... think of Erik... he heard a buckle behind him, the Cardinal undoing himself, apparently; the heavy belt landed on the floor by his thigh...

Maybe... A moment's hope flitted in his mind.

He felt a rough palm on his ass, and then a finger, parting his cheeks even with a few layers yet between them. A moment later he heard the rip of cloth, the Cardinal rending his skirt in half up the back of his thighs. His breath quickened, he thought he might start to breathe too fast; stop, stop... slow, think. Had to think, had to escape... get to Erik, save Erik, save his child... The icy chill up his legs where he was uncovered made him shiver. Had. To. Think!

"Trembling with want, you little temptress, dressed like a whore in church," Shaw's voice was gravely with some emotion Charles didn't like to think about, smug, superior, lustandownership; Charles was beneath him in Shaw's eyes. "I'm going to enjoy you as many times as it takes." A still-clothed hardness rubbed against Charles' crack. "Fill you with--" Shaw's hand went to Charles' belly, obviously meaning to make his own point but instead of a soft flatness, he met with the firm swell of Erik's child, Charles' child. "You little--"

He grabbed Charles, flipped him, pinned him down, thighs still spread, but he grabbed at the tatters of Charles' outfit, rucked it up. Charles saw the embers of Shaw's plan snuffed from his eyes, and he couldn't help it, he laughed.

Shaw slapped him, hard, so hard he felt his lip split.
<<<>>>
"You Goddamn witch," Shaw spat out. "I will cut that little bastard out of you if I have to."

He had a knife in hand a few moments later, drawn from the folds of his sleeve. Charles panicked. His child, Erik's child. No. Nonono, absolutely not. His hands flew out grabbed the rough leather of the Cardinal's discarded belt and swung, the buckle took Shaw square on the jaw, unexpected. He staggered and Charles swung the belt back, backhanding him just as hard, struggling to sit, pushing, grabbing that stupid fucking robe by the goddamn embroidery and shoved with every ounce of strength he didn't know he possessed.

Shaw's arm was up now, trying to guard his face, but Charles whipped the belt down again, hard, this time he caught Shaw in the eye and he started to scream, to flail, blood welling up. Charles felt himself tremble and dry heave, the sight disgusting and overwhelming. Shaw was in too much pain to mount a defense anymore, and Charles pulled away, grabbed the discarded knife and the looked at it for a moment... it held no sign of poison.

This man was a menace, he would never stop... This man had spent months planning this, years manipulating Erik, and he would not ever, ever stop. The idea of this man being able to come again, try to hurt Charles' child or Erik again, was intolerable. He had to end him.

Weeping bitterly, even as he knew it had to be done, Charles stabbed the Cardinal's knife down into the demon's belly, low, low enough to nick bowels. He sliced up, hopefully clipping guts and liver. Shaw screamed as he did it. Belly cuts were brutal, the infection impossibly painful; Somehow he doubted the current physician in residence would have anything to save him.

"That's for my child you son of a bitch." He stood. "Maybe if you're lucky Erik will come and save you the misery of a slow death. Godspeed."

The sarcastic rejoinder was out of his lips before he could think of anything better, he flew out of the study. Unlocked the double bolt to his quarters and all but screamed down the palace corridors. No guards... how far did the conspiracy go?

Only one thought remained on his mind as he ran: Erik.

~21~


Charles arrived at Erik's chambers, he found no guards at the door. He frowned at the door, slightly ajar; he took a moment, grabbed as his belly, as though leaving a bloody palm print across his belly would ease his child in the womb. Perhaps it would; the blood was Shaw's, after all. "Please be alright, love."

Whether he was speaking to himself, to the child, or to Erik, he wasn't entirely certain, but a moment later he pressed into the room. Nothing was amiss.

"Erik?!" Charles shouted into the chambers, feeling ridiculous for a moment when he finally realized Erik could have been anywhere in the palace.

"Charles?"

Charles heard the slightly weak and shaky voice of his king, a few rooms away. He pushed through the sitting area, back through a side study, and he finally ended in one of the sitting rooms - one gloriously pained in glass that let in light. Logan was on the ground, a bright line of blood on his chest. Erik was checking the pulse of one guard and tying the other.

"Charles?! What happened to you?" Erik's voice was filled with terror.

He saw himself, in that moment, as Erik must have; hair askew, tugged out of his clasp, skirt slashed open, blood on his hands and clothing, eyes wild and afraid, and he realized he must have looked truly ravaged.

"Not now," Charles ordered. "Was he cut? Their knives were likely poisoned."

Logan answered by growling, pained, and Charles was on his knees next to the man immediately. "Chuck."

"Yes," Charles said. Looking at the cut, it was shallow, thankfully, but that just meant the poison would get into Logan's system more slowly. He turned to Erik. "Clean linens, I need Henry, he should be waiting in the physician's suite, and Emma, the Margravine."

Erik started for a moment, surprised, but the moment passed and he stumbled back out to do what Charles had said.

"And be careful, there are people here to assassinate you and I do not know if we're through with them yet." He might have gotten that information from Shaw, but with Erik standing there looking mostly well he couldn't quite fathom things going wrong right now. "Hold on, my friend." He turned back to Logan. "Help is on the way."

He started by ripping the shirt Logan was wearing along the cut, there was possibly poison along the fabric and getting that away from the cut was imperative.

"Deep breaths, calm, we want your heart beating as slowly as possible." Logan's chest was heaving, unfortunately, quick, panicked gasps of air. It would make his heart race, pump the poison in faster. Charles wiped his hands down on the shreds of Logan's shirt and pulled the edges of the wound apart.

"Crap! Damn it, Chuck, that is not the way it's supposed to go to get it closed."

"I don't want it closed, the more you bleed from the wound the less the poison will work its way into your system."

"Oh." Logan did not seem to think of that, and then he made a conspicuous effort to bleed more slowly.

Erik came in in the interim, dropped off sheets, and then fled again.

"You..." Logan laughed. "You have him on a short leash."

"Oh hush," Charles said. "Actually, don't hush, keep speaking, but no panting." Charles continued to work, doing his best to make certain Logan kept bleeding from the shallow wound. He had no way of knowing how potent the poison was, how concentrated, and how much of it got into Logan's system. It might have been he was living with a fool's hope and it was already too late to save him, but Charles was not someone succumb to feelings of hopeless impossibility. "Nothing else to say? Perhaps I should tease you about the Margravine?"

"Shut up," Logan hissed up through clenched teeth and he winced.

Charles frowned, not wanting to distress him further. "Then you are welcome to be amused at my expense with regard to my relationship with Erik." He didn't exactly want Logan taunting him about it, but right now he'd take anything. He wanted Logan to keep talking, even if his friend kept pressing the niggling worry in the back of Charles' mind. Charles was still terrified, terrified that perhaps as much as Erik said he would want a child that he would not want this child, or not now. Logan might have confidence in Charles' future, but Charles couldn't, not yet.

He took the sheet and ripped off a strip, carefully dabbing at the cut. Logan said nothing, just hissed.

"How do you feel?"

"My chest hurts like a bitch." Eloquent as always.

"Charles!" Hank came in. "Charles you should absolutely be nowhere near him. What happened to you?! Off, go go, let me take care of this."

Suitably chastised, Charles stood and worked his way over to a chair and sat, likely getting blood all over it, Shaw's blood, probably a bit of Logan's as well, his shirt-gown had blood along the front, at the hem, everywhere.

The fear, the pressure, and the anxiety that had somehow been holding him up for hours - possibly months - finally lifted and he found it almost impossible to bear. He was numb. He couldn't even feel his hands, couldn't feel anything; he whimpered, hugged himself around the belly, as though somehow his child could give him comfort barely formed in the womb. Charles started to cry, first slow little tears, one at a time, welling up in his eyes, creeping to the corner and then rolling down his cheeks; moments later, the few tears were replaced by a torrent, he was fairly certain his nose was leaking snot now as he continued to cry.

He'd nearly... Shaw had... He could have... His child...

There was no feeling, just a numbness, and yet through it he could do nothing but cry. People came and went, he saw Emma - clothed in white - he saw Erik - just a fuzzy and blurry swath of maroon - and he just cried.

"Don't move him until I've looked him over." Hank's voice. It took him several seconds to realize he was talking about him, not Logan.

How could he not hurt but still be crying so much?

His hands were wet. He looked down to see a cloth on them, Erik wiping them with water from a small basin. "Is that yours?"

The question took several seconds to penetrate. Blood. Erik was asking about the blood. Charles shook his head.

"Whose?"

Charles shook his head.

Erik didn't press. Slowly he watched as the basin was dyed pink-red and somehow his hands got more clean; the tears did not stop. He pressed his head to Erik's shoulder. The basin disappeared, hands wrapped around his shoulders, he curled into the embrace and just continued to cry. Warmth finally started to seep back into him, gentle fingers rubbing against his shoulders and his back made him start to feel again.

A hand touched his elbow. He flinched. Charles looked up and Logan was on the floor, unmoving, Emma kneeling next to him...

Crying.

"Is he--?"

"As well as can be expected for now," Hank answered the question. "You're turn, idiot."

Erik growled; that, of all things, was what brought a smile to Charles' face and he shushed this lover.

"Come, I want you in bed." He eased Charles up. Erik moved to follow. "Alone."

They ended up in Erik's bedroom, Hank threw the bolts on the door and carefully started to strip Charles and he ended up on the bed. Finally, Charles' thoughts started to take proper shapes and proper concerns. "I fell," he told Hank. "On my hands and knees." He touched his fingers to his belly and realized he would have given anything to feel his child stir within him. Hank said it would be soon, a matter of weeks, but the stillness under his hand perturbed him.

"And you're in shock, and you obviously cut your way through someone to get here. That did not all come from Logan."

"Shaw." The name tasted like bile. "He wanted..." So many things, none of them he could quite give words to.

"Did you kill him?" Hank asked in clinically, like 'does it hurt when I touch here?' or 'how have you been eating?' somehow that made it easier to answer. Charles nodded. He might not be dead, not yet, there was likely still some dying left in him, but the deed was set in stone now, unavoidable.

Even though he remembered being stripped, it was a shock to realize he was naked. Hank's hands were gentle on his stomach, pressing very lightly, feeling for something, perhaps.

"Is it...?"

Hank only frowned.

"Hank?!"

"Shhhhh." A soothing hand touched his belly. "It's too soon to feel movement; I've told you as much."

Hank drew away, returned with an ear trumpet, which he placed against Charles' chest. His own heart was racing, Charles could feel it pounding in his chest. Hank drew away and sat down next to him, polite and mostly unconcerned.

"Charles, I need you to relax. I can't hear anything with your heart hammering like that."

Deep breaths, he breathed, forcing his heart to slow, to relax. Hank waited several minutes before he listened at Charles' chest again and decided it would be adequate. He returned with a broader trumpet, Hank had used it just a week earlier, listening to the child's heartbeat. Charles wished he could have heard, but the angle was quite impossible.

"Now, please remember, the child may have moved, I may no longer be able to hear it for reasons that are entirely benign."

Hank was steeling him for the worst, then. Charles nodded, fresh tears welling in his eyes, but his friend squeezed his wrist.

"Charles... you know nothing is certain until the child is born."

"Please, just..." Charles was fighting down panic, he thought... he knew if there was anything wrong, if his child was anything less than perfect, he would feel as though he was responsible, not even the thought that there might be other children in the future, or that losing a pregnancy was wholly natural, could prepare him for that idea. People lost children, people lost pregnancies...

Hank pressed the ear horn to Charles' belly, listening calmly to the area where he had found the child's heartbeat last week - after a great deal of searching and listening. He listened, waited, waited longer, before finally shifting a few inches, where he repeated the process. Over and over.

And over.

And again.

And again...

It meant nothing it merely meant it was not a good time, in a few weeks the child would quicken...

Hank lingered in one area, a hand pressed very lightly against Charles' side, soothing. "There is a heartbeat." They both exhaled. "Very fast, however. You must relax, Charles. For the child, please."

"Anything."

He had Hank poach one of Erik's spare robes and Charles wrapped himself in it, tying it loosely around him. "Sleep. I want you to sleep for as long as necessary. I want you to think happy, pleasing, and comfortable thoughts. If you would like... I could tell the King."

Charles shook his head. "I will do it, after I sleep."

"When you wake, I want you to eat, and I want you to take a warm bath."

"No hotter than my body," Charles remembered.

"The most stressful thing I want you doing is walking around the gardens arm in arm with the King, thinking of nothing more important than how blue the sky is." Hank chuckled as he helped Charles back into the bed, pulled down the covers and then tucked Charles in to the voluminous bed. "Back in the King's bed."

"Where I belong." As his lover... he only hoped Erik would... thoughts for another time, after he'd slept.

"I will tell the King you were distressed and... handle the rest. Please do not worry, Charles it will all be fine."

It wasn't particularly easy to believe that at the moment, though. Still, Charles curled onto his side, hand placed protectively over his abdomen, and he rubbed very softly. Hank left him.

"Please..." He wasn't certain how he felt about God right now, not after the Cardinal, not knowing he was a man of that same God, but he had to have some words, even if he were only giving voice to his desperate plea to an unhearing void. "Please... I have fought so hard for you, please be alright." Everything, he'd given up so much for the child and he couldn't stand to think...

He dropped off into an uneasy sleep that finally evened out and when he woke the light cast in from the sitting room suggested late afternoon. Charles climbed out of bed slowly, hand ghosting over his belly. The robe was thick enough to hide his bump just slightly, but he let his hand fall and headed out towards the sitting room.

The carpet where Logan had fallen had been removed, as had the couch that Charles had no doubt stained with Shaw's blood. They were replaced with other pieces, likely from somewhere else in the palace, as though nothing had ever happened. Erik was sitting in a chair, looking out over the gardens, a glass of wine sitting at his elbow as he casually scrawled on a piece of paper.

"Hello..."

Charles watched as the quill comically scratched against the piece of paper Erik was working on. The king turned, eyes slightly red. "Charles!" Erik had stood and gotten his arms around Charles' shoulders impossibly quickly. "How are you feeling, love? Hank said not to wake you but I..." Erik's voice broke, he coughed, tried his words again. "I was so very worried."

"I think I will be fine." Reasons to not be fine banged about in his head, but he pushed them aside and dismissed them as useless to dwell on.

"Hank said you should eat." A half-dozen plates, each of them in various stages of cooling, sat on a nearby table. Charles smiled. Erik must have had the kitchen bring a fresh plate almost every half hour.

He sat, picked the plate that seemed warmest and most appetizing and started to pick at the tender beef there. It didn't sit well with him, too bloody, and he set it back down, picking instead the blander chicken that was a bit older but more familiar. There were no forks, Charles picked at it with his hands, even going to far as to pick up a small new potato in his hand and eat it like that.

"I'm sorry I should have thought..." Erik shook his head. "Wine?"

Charles' mind screamed its protest. "No... no... juice?"

Erik grabbed four of the plates - never mind that was what servants were for - and scrambled towards the door. "Juice. Which juice? It doesn't matter, I'll bring them all. Every juice we have."

"Erik!" Charles shouted after him, laughing. "Erik just some grape or apple will be fine."

Erik returned barely five minutes later with a carafe of both, Charles tried not to giggle and failed.

"At least I can still make you laugh."

"Always." Charles' face grew somber, though, even as he sipped his apple juice and tried to not think about the hard things.

"If... if it's not too presumptuous, I thought you might not want to return to your rooms for some time."

"No, you're right. I would rather not return."

"Your things are here, now, but..." Erik looked awkward, looked away and down and every direction but at Charles. "Hank was uncertain if you would be comfortable with..." Erik fumbled for the words. "Me. Anyone. The Cardinal... was already dead when I arrived. It spared him being killed by my own hand. To attempt..." Erik scowled, but didn't complete his thought.

Charles nodded, he wondered how obvious it must have been that Shaw had intended to violate him. He wondered if anyone in the room could have missed the signed, the Cardinal unbuckled and mostly unclothed... he shivered. "I think... I do not know how I feel, to be honest. I would ask you not to come at me from behind, I think?" He didn't even know what might cause him to remember, perhaps nothing, he didn't know, perhaps everything. Perhaps even feeling Erik anywhere near him would be too much right now.

"Of course, anything." He watched his king fumble and fidget for words again. "He said... there would be no need for... moon tea."

A morbid chuckle burbled up in his throat, it transformed to a laugh, strained and uncomfortable, before it finally blossomed into sobs. Before he had ahold of himself again Erik was next to him, a gentle hand on one shoulder, fingers rubbing very slowly. He glanced up, Erik looked completely lost, scared and lost and overwhelmed, but he was obviously trying desperately. He had no idea if Hank had been able to determine that Shaw had not entered him or it was a simple statement he'd used to try to comfort Erik without knowing for certain. "There will be no need for it, no."

Erik seemed to take that as more assurance than it really was, but it eased his obvious tension.

He was trembling again, his hands shaking so badly he could barely drink. The king was at his side in a flash, took the plate and started to tear up pieces of food with his own fingers, bringing up bites of food to Charles' lips where he ate them. Erik avoided touching him overmuch, which Charles found himself both pleased and frustrated by.

"Anything you need, Charles," Erik promised him.

"You. You by my side."

"Always."

"And..." He looked up at Erik, awkward. "Maybe a bath?"

"Of course, nice and hot."

"Warm," Charles corrected. "Hank says it should be about the temperature of the body."

"Right..." Erik trailed off again, but leaned in, kissing Charles softly on the cheek. "I love you."

Charles managed to gulp down a few more swallows of juice and more food, his stomach protesting having much more right now, and he finally... steeled himself and headed towards the bathroom where Erik had just finished drawing the bath. He dipped his fingers in to the water. It was a bit too hot, leaving his fingers pink, so he waited for it to cool slowly.

"I should leave you to bathe."

"Stay." Charles pressed his fingers to Erik's wrist. "I... I have to tell you something."

Erik stayed, the two of them reached out for each other and fingers tangled together. Charles brought the king's hands up to his and brushed kisses across his knuckles.

"Hank told you I've been ill, yes?"

"Yes. I... I have been very worried for you."

"He has not told you what is amiss?" Erik's face said it all, confusion, worry, fear of what Charles might tell him. He had no idea. Charles took his lover's hands and guided them down to his waist, let Erik's fingers brush against the knot that held the gown closed.

Erik looked down into Charles' eyes, question obvious. Charles nodded. Erik's fingers fumbled slightly with the tie, look on his face a mix of eagerness, lust, and worry. When he finished, Erik's fingers fell away, the robe falling open to show Erik everything from collar to toe. Erik looked, obviously confused at first, but then his hand reached out to the swell of his belly. When he encountered firmness he pressed very gently. "Charles?"

Hope. Erik's voice was wrecked with hope. "It's yours."

"Mine?" Erik fell to his knees. "You're..." His fingers splayed gently. "With child?"

"Yes."

A choking gasp, barely human, came from Erik's lips. "How--?"

Charles carded his fingers gently through Erik's hair. "You're far too old for the mechanics of conception to be a mystery, Highness." His voice was light and teasing, but when Erik looked up at him, teary, he reconsidered his approach. "The night I returned... we never discussed tea and I could not have made it for myself anyway, imprisoned in the Tower."

Erik sniffled again. Hands light against his belly. "You've been... imprisoned, poorly fed and kept, nearly... nearly..." Erik couldn't even choke out the word. "I have been a poor king and a poor lover to you."

"Hush." Maybe he had, a touch, but right now Charles could just weep from relief, and he did, big fat tears he thought he must have complete cried out but now they were back. "I know it was selfish of me..."

"Selfish?" Erik leaned in more, nose pressed against Charles' belly, he felt Erik press his lips there, light; he could hear Erik cooing at his... bump. "No, certainly not. You were more than right, revealing this could have been dangerous to you, and to me." Erik continued to dote, rubbing and touching and almost purring at him. A thought seemed to strike him. "Charles... that's my heir, a prince or a princess."

"The Cardinal--" The word stuck in his throat.

"I'll have new ones until I get one that lets me marry you, let's me claim your children as my own. I don't need a consort, and if there must be a consort it will be you and no one else." Erik planted one final kiss on Charles' belly before he rose. "What is the point of being an absolute monarch if I cannot marry the person I love?"

"No point at all," Charles answered, smiling, before he checked over his shoulder and touched the surface of the bath, it was just warm to the touch now. "I... Hank said I need to relax."

"Of course." Erik pulled away instantly. "I'll... leave you to that."

"Or you could stay."

Erik fumbled to get naked and slide into the tub with Charles, and it made Charles laugh, exactly how much Erik seemed to want to touch him now. His hands were by no means confined to the swell of his abdomen, but no matter where his fingers lingered they always ended up back there. After a few minutes of trying to get comfortable, Charles eventually settled in, back against Erik's front, nestled between his legs. Erik's hands seemed to find their natural home cradling Charles' belly, his nose pressed lightly to Charles' neck.

"Have you... considered what you might name it?"

He hadn't. It had seemed so unreal, even as his stomach grew and he avoided the true consequences of his pregnancy. Now it seemed almost... tempting fate. Charles had hardly treated himself well for the first half of the pregnancy, and he knew omegas who had lost a pregnancy after having been through far less. It was as though naming a child, putting voice to a name, would somehow make it more likely to be snatched away from him. "No."

"Well... I think it will be a boy," Erik declared, suddenly.

Charles smiled. "The odds are in your favor, a male alpha and a male omega do have almost a two-third's chance of a male child."

"Do you know why?"

He started to babble about theories of gender and conception and contributing factors and spontaneous miscarriage of early pregnancies and Erik just laughed and laughed.

"Of course you do. How could I have thought you wouldn't? And perhaps he will be an alpha, and I will send you back south to be painted again and again so you will give me strong sons."

Charles snorted. He had better things to do than be painted, superstition or not. "It is still usually the alpha who names the children. If it is a boy he will be your heir apparent."

"But the boy would be your son. Tell me your name and I will tell the world it was my idea."

There were so many things he didn't dare hope for that Erik was just setting in front of him gladly. "David."

Erik considered the name for a few moments, fingers stroking along Charles' side and over his belly. "Beloved. Always beloved. Every single one of our children will be beloved."

They stayed in the bath until it grew cool, and the two of them stepped out, Erik drying Charles off as though he were a delicate doll or dish, before they finally dressed. Charles picked a thin dress and slid into some of his looser pants.

"You barely show like that!"

"That was rather the point."

Erik pouted, and Charles allowed him to retie the waist of the gown so it was a bit tighter, drawing a more obvious contrast between Charles' flat chest and curved belly.

"You seem inordinately pleased with yourself, Your Majesty."

"Every child is a step towards that brood you wanted, Charles."

The idea filled Charles with an intense sort of glee. Each one of his children, loved and beloved and wanted by both their fathers. "I look forward to every step in the process." Except perhaps the birth itself... he would likely curse Erik's name mightily then.

~22~


Hours turned into days and weeks became a month. His child continued to grow - conspicuously so - pants became a forgotten dream. Logan was slowly recovering; Charles visited him daily. Moira had not written from the south yet; Charles thought it was likely a wise caution on her part. It seemed as though everyone in the palace knew, now, that Charles was rather pregnant and who the alpha was.

Erik already had a half-dozen gowns and vests and things made - all in Lehnsherr colors - and had already roared his way through two cardinals and a bishop waiting for a 'more suitable replacement' from the Church.

Charles found himself hiding in the gardens more frequently, taking Hank's advice as much as possible to remain calm. There were negotiations with Klettgau happening, however, between Erik's sulking rages at the church. Charles attended them all, calm and quiet and as collected as possible. Today, however, he was free to wander to his heart's content, Erik caught up in some request for a land grant or another that Charles felt no need to accompany him.

"It's lovely out today," he said, to himself, to... David-or-Anya. The child. "Genosha is usually so cool in the winter, but today is nice." It was almost warm, and Charles was huddled up in a thick wool vest to match the heavy wool of his dress, bundled up even against the winter almost-chill. "But you'll come in the spring. That's a bit on the nose, isn't it?"

"Renewal for Genosha?" A voice, female, one he didn't recognize immediately, startled him out of his monologue.

He liked to avoid looking insane - talking to his bump - in front of people, but as soon as he turned and realized who had spoken he felt even more ridiculous. The Queen, Edith. He hadn't seen her since... well since Before. He got the impression she'd been avoiding him, and could only assume she'd sought him out now.

"The court seems... excited for the child," he answered.

Edith nodded and circled towards him, finally stopping just a few feet from him, at the other end of the bench. "May I sit?"

Charles nodded, a bit wary.

"I remember what it was like when I was expecting Erik." Edith sat down next to him, sweeping her gown out from under her to sit neatly. "There was a great deal of pressure. I felt very overwhelmed."

"I suppose it's easier since I'm not Erik's consort."

The Queen... snorted. "In name only. I am certain the court has more than gotten the message that you are Erik's alone and he will have no other. Or do you wear that bauble for your health?"

She indicated the metal bracelet around his wrist, the one conspicuously adorned with the royal crest. He covered it with his palm, not embarrassed, but the queen did not care for him and he wasn't certain how to respond. "I love him. I wish you to be aware of that."

"It has taken me some time to realize I... do not understand you, Charles Xavier."

"I'm not so complicated, Your Majesty."

"Edie."

He blinked. "Edie." For a moment he wondered if that was some sort of word he didn't know, but the more he reflected he realized that the Queen had invited him to call her by her name. "I... met your son, I fell in love with him, I... I'm going to have his child, hopefully the first of many. I'm not quite certain I am ready for all that would be required of me as a consort and I... love him."

The Queen nodded. "May I?" She held out her hand near his waist and Charles nodded. He could barely feel her hand through the dress, but he could feel it. "Have you felt it move?"

"From time to time; it seems to enjoy waking me up at all hours with a kick to the bladder when I sleep, but is not much for command performances during the day." He smiled. "It even woke Erik once, as he... sleeps with his hand on me most nights."

"He told me." Edie... smiled. "He was very excited. I think he believes the old tales that say a strong kicker will be an alpha."

Charles shook his head, smiling. "I hope he will not be disappointed if it is a girl, or an omega."

"I am certain he will not be."

The two of them fell silent, the Queen's hand gently resting on his belly for a few more moments before she pulled away.

"Edie?" She looked at him, eyes curious. "Not... to seem ungrateful but... I do not think I imagined that you did not much care for me for many months."

A complicated emotion Charles couldn't quite read crossed her face. "Yes... I..." Silence stretched between them. "I do not believe I can apologize as much as is necessary for that. Klaus... Cardinal Shaw, told me that he had been told that you meant Genosha great harm."

"Told by whom?"

"God." Edie flushed. "I have long believed, and my faith is still strong despite the blow he struck against it a month ago, but it is now obvious that the one who did not approve of you was not God, but was the Cardinal himself. He was a great comfort to me after Jakob's death, and... I allowed that to blind me to the truth."

"I wish Genosha nothing but prosperity, truly, and happiness for Erik."

"I see that now."

They ended up walking through some of the gardens, Edie offering up a few tips to handle the strain his back was slowly finding itself under, more and more, and the two of them finally returned back to the palace; Charles declined her invitation to tea before he went in search of Erik.

He found the king in one of his studies near the throne room, working at a desk on some paper or another.

"Charles, there you are." He held out a short stack of papers. "I was hoping for your opinion on the latest movements in Klettgau, and a letter has finally come for you from the south full of the most inane detailing of the past month I think I have ever read."

"Be kind to Moira, she has no idea if I was still imprisoned, or worse, best to look innocuous than dangerous." He punctuated that by landing with a bit more force than expected on Erik's lap.

"Ooof!"

Charles glowered. "There will be no commenting about my royal backside."

"Your... royal backside is squishing the crown jewels."

The two of them repositioned themselves so that Charles was sitting comfortably across Erik's legs, Erik's hands sitting so that one could rest lightly on Charles' belly while Charles scanned through the documents Erik had handed him. "I think do nothing with Klettgau. I have spoken to Raven and I have come to believe it is some sort of elaborate game of positioning from the Emperor."

"How so?"

"I believe both of the alpha princes suffer from King's Disease, a third seems not to suffer from it but it seems... possible he's an omega. He's not yet reached sexual maturity, and is the youngest." Erik made a face as though he didn't see why this was important. Charles sighed and gave his king a very soft kiss. "There are only about fourteen people between you and the Klettgau Emperor in succession by current succession laws, and one of them is the Archduke of Alsworth, who I think we can all agree is an inappropriate monarchical candidate. Fourteen seems like a great deal when discussing succession, but... if, perhaps, the King of Genosha has an alpha male child who does not suffer from King's Disease, one who is only six or seven years younger than the only Klettgau prince not to carry the disease..."

"You're saying the entire Klettgau Dynasty could fall down around its ears like the Alecov?"

Charles nodded. "Not quite so spectacularly, but again, speaking to Raven, the Emperor is obviously concerned about his issue, his succession, and who to name as his heir. He is doubtless wondering if perhaps it might be better to bed the devil he knows than risk seeing Klettgau fall into Alsworth's hands. All I know is that it seems wise we make a state visit some time after the baby is born."

"And the wedding."

He felt his heart skip a few beats. "Um... wedding?"

"Yes, Bishop Gabriel Summers is quite amenable to legitimizing your child and having us married after the birth."

"Bishop Summers?" Charles giggled at the idea, Alex would not be pleased when he returned home, but it mattered little, he and Erik would be wed, and Charles found it difficult to spare concern for Alex in that moment. If Charles had his way perhaps he and Armando could see past their inhibitions and become more than old friends. "I suppose it would be too crass to wear white."

"My consort can wear whatever color he would like."

"Do you have to wear the purple?"

" Maroon."

Charles pouted, but Erik ignored him in favor of rubbing Charles' belly while Charles composed a letter to Moira. The child decided to kick rather spectacularly for the duration. "Little show off."

"It knows its father," Erik answered, very smug.

"Yes, and the little monster was not interested in showing off for your mother earlier."

Erik didn't seem to mind one bit, instead setting to work massaging lightly into Charles' back while his hand rested on his belly and then rubbed at his thigh. Charles set aside the matter of Klettgau. It was a depressing business, really, and instead he answered his letter from Moira. It was awkward summarizing the past month with any sort of accuracy, but he tried. The very thought of it made him smile.

"Oh you look lovely like that." Erik leaned up and kissed Charles' jaw, and then his neck.

"Smiling?" Erik nodded. "Well... stop that, I must finish this letter to Moira and then you can inform me exactly how lovely you find me." Honestly he thought he looked a bit plump, but he wasn't going to disagree with Erik's assessment for no reason.

"Something to do with the crown jewels?" Erik asked, obviously hopeful.

Charles made an undignified snort, but he leaned in and kissed Erik's forehead. "Whatever my king wants."

"Your king wants you, and anything you want."

Charles slung his arm over Erik's shoulder, leaned in to kiss him softly. "It's convenient that I want my king, then, isn't it?"

The letter to Moira sat forgotten for a few minutes, as he and Erik's hands tangled around each other and they kissed, slow and warm. Charles had little acrobaticness left in him, probably until at least a few months after the child was born, but Erik was still completely enamored, even with lazy kissing in the study.

He decided the saying that, after you entered the king's bed there was truly nowhere to go but down was absolutely untrue, one simply had to get the king to fall rather madly in love with you while you were there.

~epilogues~


Charles was fairly certain that prince-consorts-to-be were not supposed to waddle, however that was exactly what he did at this point. He was nearing the end of his eighth month of pregnancy and found himself rather large. Moira had impolitely called him a waddling navigational hazard and Charles hadn't spoken to her for at least three hours. After she'd plied her way back into his good graces with a chocolate pudding the two of them had set about talking The Wedding.

The Wedding was slated for approximately one month after the birth of HRH David-or-Anya, however that meant that there were hundreds of little preparations that could only be tended to while Charles was the size of an airship, or possibly two airships if he was being realistic, a tandem pair of airships waddling down the corridor at a pace that some might have found alarming. The palace guards had long since realized that it was best to simply get out of the way, because the prince-consort-to-be would simply continue to tear through the area and leave guards fumbling in his wake. Charles wasn't entirely certain he was cultivating the appropriate sense of gravity for his royal personage, but honestly he couldn't give a damn. Sometimes he needed cake, sometimes he needed desperately to pee, and sometimes he was running late because he could barely fit into any of his clothes anymore, so regardless he thought it was important that people understood the necessity of getting out of his way.

Sadly, today there was no cake, only the wedding dress. He made his way into one of the many sitting rooms that made up the living area of the palace, with Emma, Moira, and Logan working with three tailors. Charles was fairly certain the outfit might have fit a man of approximately his height, but he considered it unlikely his waist would ever fit in something so narrow again.

"Really, Emma?" He asked as he all but collapsed onto a waiting sofa. "I'll be lucky if I fit into that a year later."

"Ha!" Moira smirked at him. "In another year you'll probably be pregnant again."

Charles decided to ignore her statement and huff over-dramatically.

"That's why there's a bodice, sugar. Your organs can take one day of squishing."

The idea of celebrating finally popping out a child by squeezing his insides back into some heavily corseted binding was not particularly exciting. The trousers - also white, why had he thought white was a good idea, he was fairly certain his ass was quite a bit larger now - sat almost entirely un-sewn, and would have to wait until the baby arrived before they could see how pear-shaped he'd gotten in the interim. It looked very well put together so far.

"I suppose they will manage for one day." He set his hand gently on his belly and rubbed, softly.

Everyone took his action as a cue to come over and touch his belly, Moira sitting beside him, Emma on the other side, and Logan just... looking.

"Now that our situation is a bit more secure, Sean and I are discussing the possibility of a child."

Charles beamed at Moira, thrilled for her. He had been so upset that he could not help her with Lord Cassidy, but in the end he had, rather spectacularly. Since the new Bishop was Alex's younger brother, he had a decidedly more enlightened view on several topics, the marriage of a noble and a commoner among them. It also had the added benefit of a forgiving opinion on the relationships between two male alphas - something for which Darwin and Alex were quite pleased. With the Cassidy's fortunes slightly more secure due to Moira and Sean's time in the south, the two of them could do what Charles would soon be doing, marry for love.

"Will you keep traveling?" He asked. The one thing he disliked about the whole arrangement, although it was very pleasing to him in general, was that he was unlikely to make his father's former trade empire his own again. He could not afford to be away for months at a time.

"Of course! Well... likely not when I am pregnant. We can't all fight our way through scores of guards while pregnant."

"It was one man, and not even a guard!" Charles protested, immediately. "But I cannot say I dislike the vigor with which the king has made it up to me since then." Frequently... and satisfyingly. They'd had to cease their lovemaking recently and that had left Charles rather put out.

"More than we needed to know, Chuck," Logan said from where he stood. He looked at Charles oddly for a moment but then leaned in and... patted Charles' belly, more like a cat than a bump, but Charles didn't mind.

"I suppose my one consolation is getting all of you in dresses for the wedding."

Logan pulled his hand away, clearly withdrawing his favor. Emma scowled. Both of them were disinclined for their own reasons. Emma, although she was more than happy to show off legs, thighs, or even her stomach, she tended to prefer alpha trousers to the omega skirts; Logan similarly preferred his trousers, a hold over from his time in the military, and didn't want to be done up in the flowing dress for the wedding. Moira was absolutely pleased for the dress. They were a soft blue that didn't overly clash with the maroon suit that Erik would be wearing.

Moira eventually left to bring back juice and Emma headed off to browbeat one of the poor tailors and Logan sat down next to Charles, scowling.

"What seems to be amiss?" He asked, since he didn't need Logan's scowling at the moment.

"Just..." His frown deepened. "You're big as a house."

"Yes, thank you." He could do with a bit less commenting on his weight.

"Do you like it?"

"Being a waddling navigational hazard? No I actually don't. The end result..." He pressed a hand gently to his belly, fingers ghosting over the swell. "I'm really rather excited for. The king and I want several and I'm rather looking forward to it. Ask me again after I've gotten the child out however."

"You've killed a man, it's can't be that hard."

It took a few moments to realize that was supposed to be some sort of bizarre comfort to him. He laughed.

"Do I sense a possible change in your... anti-child policy, Logan?"

Logan didn't answer, just scowled.

"Regardless, all of our children will be taught by you when it comes to defending their honor and virtue - and the honor of those they love." Not even Logan nearly dying for the king had swayed the opinion of the Army generals, and although Erik no doubt could have forced the issue, Logan knew it would not be the same as truly being accepted back into their ranks.

The man had always struck Charles as a bit of a lone wolf, regardless.

"Good."

Charles felt an annoying twinge in his spine, and wriggled slightly to try to get comfortable, hand settling protectively over his belly. It took four of them before Charles finally realized what the foreign feeling was.

"Oh... um... best be getting Hank, then, I think."

*


Charles wanted a nap, desperately. Of course the high pitched waling of his son - David - was doing him no favors in that department. His son was not taking kindly to the warm cloth being used to clean him, or generally being touched at all. Charles was so wrung out he could barely lift his head to track the movements of his son around the room. Hank pressed a cold cloth to his forehead, wiping.

"I don't think I'll be doing that again any time soon..." Charles said.

His friend smiled and wiped the back of his neck and his face, even carefully running fingers through his loose, sweaty hair. Charles reached up - half-hearted - to straighten it.

"He's quite alert and healthy, well-formed."

They had both had their concerns, Charles more so than Hank, and the news made him very glad. "You should tell Erik... I suppose I could see him now..." He felt like a wreck.

"I will tell His Majesty, but you will be freshened up before I allow him in here." Hank retreated, mumbling something about the wonders of childbirth.

David continued to cry until he was placed carefully in Charles' arms; he could have pretended it was due to some mystical childhood bond, but mostly it seemed related to the fact that Charles placed a bottle gently to his lips and David started to drink. The absence of crying - Hank ducked his head in to check to see the cause - meant that he could now overhear the conversation in the next room if he strained.

"...son." Hank.

"Is Charles alright?"

"He is well, yes. Tired, of course, but he is going to be just fine."

"Can I see him?"

"Not at the moment." Erik made a low noise that sounded like a grumble. "He has just had his first child, it is not an easy task, and he requires rest. You will be allowed in when he is comfortable."

Charles leaned in and pressed a kiss to David's head, clean and soft and ruddy. "I told you your father was very silly."

The nursemaid very politely ignored his rambling.

Once David had finished eating and Hank and the nurse had gotten the room clean and almost presentable, and Charles changed into a different outfit, Charles felt almost human. Finally settled to one side of the bed - David resting, momentarily quiet, in a cradle just to the side - Hank allowed Erik into the bedchamber. He was not nervous, at least, but a certain air of false casualness that made Charles grin.

Erik sat down near Charles' feet, a hand snaking up to rub at Charles' leg; he seemed unable to decide if he should look at Charles or David, and Charles did not mind his son taking some of Erik's attention.

"How are you feeling, love?"

Charles shrugged. "Wrung out and tired."

Erik squeezed Charles' thigh in sympathy. "I'll see to everything. You relax."

David started to fuss again, and then whine. Charles watched, rather amused, as Erik awkwardly picked the boy up and tried to cradle him in his arms. David yelled louder.

Erik's face was raw panic the likes of which Charles had never seen before.

"Not so smug now, are you, Your Majesty?"

Erik - carefully - fled from the room, screaming son in his arms, presumably to find someone who might be able to get his son to stop crying and leave Charles with a few moment's rest. He snuggled down into the sheets of his bed and all but collapsed in sleep.

*


Charles probably shouldn't have been overly surprised when he spent his first morning aboard the Banshee vomiting up breakfast. Still, he could have picked a better time. He was needed in the south for negotiations, not just trade but diplomatic, there was some agitation on the borders and he and Erik had no intention of bringing it to war. Erik would not be pleased.

Oh, well he would be pleased, but the idea of sending his consort into a diplomatic negotiation was something he had come to accept in the four years since their marriage; sending his possibly pregnant consort would likely make him antsy, and trigger happy, and annoyed.

"I was never airsick with David or Anya," Charles moped to Moira as he sipped some tea, waiting for his nausea to subside. "David was a delight - beyond the circumstances - barely any vomiting, no ridiculous cravings." He'd had a bit more nausea with Anya, and weird cravings, and the last two months he'd been a bit frail, but again nothing too onerous.

"I consider it justice for the fact that I was sick as a dog with Theresa," Moira answered. "I was out of commission for almost a year."

Charles could scarcely afford to be away from his duties for weeks, let alone months. "Then let's hope it's not nearly so serious. I cannot trust anyone else with these negotiations at the moment."

"Armando?" Moira suggested, cautiously. "We could return to Genosha and fetch him and Alex. At least Armando would not find himself... in a family way." He and Alex had been considering fostering an orphan, actually, although they hadn't come to a decision on that yet.

"Too young."

"He's four years older than you!"

Charles grumbled into his tea. "Hush, I'll have none of your logic right now."

"I don't see why I need to take this abuse, there is a perfectly guilty king back in Genosha. I think the blame best lies with him, not me." Moira's tone was not nearly so harsh as it could have been, and Charles had to admit she had a point. Erik would be thrilled, really.

By the third morning of their trip, Charles had given up on anything so quaint as eating before his stomach had had its early morning rebellion. After the bile, he'd drink some water, usually vomited that as well, before finally tea would be allowed to settle and he could be more adventurous with such delightful items as toast and eggs.

"I think we can at least both agree that we hate Logan?" Moira offered as she rubbed his back.

Charles nodded. The man was... insane, he'd barely looked pregnant for almost six months, and Charles was fairly certain he had strangled a bear with his bare hands while he was seven months pregnant. And then, then, two months after Marie was born Logan didn't even have the decency to look like he'd been pregnant. Logan was the enemy, certainly, the enemy of all omegas who did such dainty things as fainting or throwing up while pregnant.

Jerk.

"I feel like I'm choking on hormones," Charles complained. He felt very grouchy, it was not a good combination for a peace conference, but he had every confidence in his abilities assuming he was allowed to sulk before meetings.

"Maybe it's twins?"

Charles lightly banged his head against the galley table and cursed his... lovely, beautiful, wonderful, adorable, and frightfully virile husband.

~the end~

Comments

( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
iheartdraco11
Feb. 11th, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
THIS WAS BEAUTIFUL!!! I am so sad it is done...you should do little ficlets about castle life and the adventures of the Lensherr-Xavier children. Oh Honey, this story was absolutely magnificent and I am so sad to see it finished. This was the most satisfying ending and kudos to BAMF pregnant Charles and Logan. I love you..have my babies ;)
pookaseraph
Feb. 11th, 2012 01:13 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm sorry, I always feel like it's important for me to have a solid end in sight. It's always possible I'll write some ficlets or something, depends on where my motivation takes me. <3 I'm glad it was satisfying! I always freak out about endings as much as I always try to have them.

Charles being a BAMF was super important to me, I'm glad you liked it. Oh god what would I do with your babies?! ;)
shayzgirl
Feb. 11th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC)
Okay, so I caught up on the first 6 parts last night and I didn't comment on any cos trying to comment from my phone is hell. And I was so sure I was going to have to wait before the next update but I'm so glad I was wrong and I'm so glad that you didn't drag out the stuff with Shaw and that Charles was about to fight back and protect himself. And thank you so much for writing such a wonderful and beautiful and happy Cherik mpreg fic because it's truly what I've been looking for, since others I've found on AO3 have been rather depressing. Um, I've seen to run out of words to say, except this was wonderful and yay! <333333
pookaseraph
Feb. 11th, 2012 02:12 am (UTC)
Hey, it's totally cool, I understand the phone sucks for commenting. Thank you for stopping in for the final part! Yeah, I didn't want to have a really long noncony thing (not my thing, I mean I was cool with writing it for the prompt but it's not my kink) and I really did want Charles to be a BAMF about it. He obviously was freaked out but... I thought it went well so thanks <3.

And yes, Cherik mpreg can be pretty fucking angsty, but this was mostly fluff, I admit. Thank you!!
shadowserenity
Feb. 11th, 2012 01:59 am (UTC)
EEEEEE. That was delightful! I'm just really, really happy with the ending and how the threads were wrapped up. I'm still amazed Charles managed to keep his pregnancy secret for four months - a credit to some well-placed fruit bowels, no doubt!

And Erik got to be all smug about impregnating Charles, up until the point he had to soothe David. I like to think that one of their children will take after Charles and be this absolute BAMF! omega and never let anyone hold them back due to their orientation.

This story is an absolute credit to you. Thank you for writing it :).
pookaseraph
Feb. 11th, 2012 02:15 am (UTC)
YAY! I'm glad it all wrapped up satisfactorily! And honestly it really depends on your body, my neighbor barely looked pregnant when she hit 9 months, but other people blow up like a balloon straight away, about 20 weeks is where it's pretty fucking hard to believe it's anything but pregnancy, again, depending on body type, and I planned for Charles to be about 18-19 weeks along at the time, so... YMMV it's a bit handwavey but it made the gooey ending stuff work better!

And yes! Smug Alpha Erik can deal with his whiny kid while Charles is all 'ahh, now I've done the hard work, time for a nap!'. I like to think Charles and Erik have a happy reign that is full of busting alpha and omega stereotypes because I get off on that shit (see... most of the rest of my work)

Thank you! I'm honored!
ilykujk
Feb. 11th, 2012 03:30 am (UTC)
This is wonderful and amazing and just a giant ball of fluff-tastic loveliness! Yay for Charles being a BAMF! and handling Shaw! Yay for happy endings and, lol, constantly pregnant!Charles.

And omg, pregnant!Logan! He inspires envy in all pregnant people, although at the rate they're putting out children, imagine the babysitting. I can see Erik being swamped with children everywhere because obviously they would all love him, lols.

Thank you for the lovely read and, personally, thought the ending is satisfying the way it is.

Although I wouldn't mind more outtakes if the fancy strikes?
pookaseraph
Feb. 11th, 2012 03:41 am (UTC)
Thank you! And yes, BAMF!Charles is almost universally a requirement for my fics, and I wanted him to be the one to handle Shaw because although Erik's been fucked over by him it's really Charles who has the personalized reasons to hate him. Hey, Charles got like... two years off between Anya and the twins, that's like... forever.

Pregnant!Logan is actually - hilariously - based on my next door neighbor who like... legitimately looked maaaaaybe 4-5 months pregnant the day she went to the hospital in labor and she came back and she looked like she'd just had an impressive holiday meal, not that she'd been gestating a sprog for 9 months. Erik and Charles are going to need like five nannies, and the children terrorize them. I decided you could legit give the pair probably about 7 kids without even dipping into not-really-that-canon kids or made up kids.

Thank you! I'm always glad to hear when people are satisfied because I suffer from 'oh god what if they hate it?!' mostly about my endings.

I know people would love more, as I almost always say, it's whatever strikes my fancy and it gets struck frequently.
nerorizim
Feb. 11th, 2012 03:44 am (UTC)
Oh lovely, lovely.

I can't express how much I loved Charles in this (and how much I cheered when he shanked that bastard Shaw) Pregnant!Charles is so cute (ugh mpreg is such a huge guilty pleasure of mine). And panicked Erik holding little david, aw!

Imagining Logan pregnant seriously almost brought me to tears with laughter though.

Wonderful story, wonderful ending! now ficlets about daily life yes yes. <3 <3

Maybe when little Wanda and Pietro are born >3
pookaseraph
Feb. 11th, 2012 04:21 am (UTC)
Thank you! <3

I have a bit of a guilty pleasure for mpreg, but I get squicked if it goes too medical (I have a medical squick ;;) so I tend to not get to enjoy it often. I love Charles too, and having him be really BAMF was a total requirement for this fic. I figure Erik will get it sorted out eventually but right now he's like 'oh god wtf do I do with this babby?!'

PREGNANT LOGAN!!

Hahaha, you monsters, all wanting ficlets <3. I will see, it really depends on where my motivation takes me, thank you so much for stopping by and reviewing, it's lovely to know when a frequent reader enjoys the whole fic.
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pookaseraph
Feb. 11th, 2012 04:15 am (UTC)
That's fine!

My math is for M/M babies: 1/4: YY (spontaneous miscarriage, undocumented as YY by science b/c it's like 1780-science), 1/4: XX (female bb), 1/2: YX (male bb), thus this when considering only viable birthed offspring presents as a 2/3 chance of a male and a 1/3 chance as a female, but a higher chance of early miscarriage in M/M pregnancy.
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pookaseraph
Feb. 11th, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
Haha, I actually ran my numbers by quietbang to make sure I was doing it right! <3. So I think it would be well known that either m/m get pregnant less frequently and/or they miscarry more earlier, but not necessarily the mechanism of it. I think it's possible they could start to have an idea of chromosomes eventually and the why of the mechanism but would hardly be able to verify it with genetic testing of miscarried zygotes/fetuses.

ERIK! I love him being an adorable fail daddy. He's going to learn how to be an awesome caretaker, especially since his consort is running around being a diplomatic BAMF.

Logan! Haha, as I said above (or below?) I actually knew someone who was like this and literally it was like 'where is the baby?!' while they were pregnant.

I'm actually not huge into kids (as I've said elsewhere) but I love them in fic, especially for certain characters (especially for Charles, tbh, because I think he is the best daddy in the whole fucking world) and this is just a story that would *not* be complete without 'and then they had lots of sex and babies'
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pookaseraph
Feb. 11th, 2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
:breathes into a bag: Seriously, I'm... super flattered that you're interested in making more art for me but I don't in any way feel shortchanged by what you've made for me to so far.

Thank you <3
furius
Feb. 11th, 2012 04:59 am (UTC)
You know, I really thought that Charles was actually going to become the Merchant Prince so Erik had to marry him, but I love the inverse-Henry VIII plot you've going on here and wow, Charles being definitely the one with more backbone in the relationship. He uncovers a plot and kills a would be murderous-usurper-rapist before administering first aid all the while being pregnant! Erik's fortunate Charles loves him.
pookaseraph
Feb. 11th, 2012 05:10 am (UTC)
I did love the idea of either (a) Charles being like 'I'mma be this badass single omega with the king's bastards whateves' or (b) Charles doing more in a merchanty sense to prove his BAMFness to Erik/court/etc. OBVIOUSLY IF THIS WAS GOING TO BE A FOURTEEN PART SERIES WE'D GO THAT DIRECTION, but pookaseraph has a job, and (she pretends she has) a life, so it needed to be wrapped up and Erik going all 'fuck this I'm Henry the Eighth!' worked really well for me.

And yeah, I love me some BAMF!Charles, I definitely wanted him to be... sorta, both conforming to 'omega-ness' but also really stretching it. Erik's a BAMF in his own right, and again if this were going to be longer he would have gotten more character development, but this is really Charles' story, I'm sure Erik is good at *something* it's just not realizing Shaw's a murderous-usurper-rapist.
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pookaseraph
Feb. 12th, 2012 01:33 am (UTC)
Ahaha, no problem. I actually haven't much considered it, to be honest. If anything we might see little ficlets but probably not a larger epic like this one. I tend to... have this sort of... furious month or two of creation of a world and then I spit it out and go looking for something else. I never say no, it's always possible something will strike and I'll be really excited to write another chunk of the world, but part of what lets me write so fast is that I really embrace projects I'm super-motivated towards rather than necessarily what I 'should' be doing.

I imagine it means sometimes it can be a bit frustrating to follow me, but I haven't left too many projects hanging so... win some you lose some?

I'm not sure if you've been over to my AO3 Works List Here but I recommend Nation Building or Taken By His Majesty for works that I think are similar to ATKM in theme (do take a look at the warnings on TBHM though!), and the MCIS series is good for world building as well (IMHO). The rest of my work is more fluffy (not a value judgement, just a statement).

I'm really very thrilled you fell in love with ATKM though! It's possible an idea will strike me but I definitely deal in... complete ideas, and one for an ATKM2 fic hasn't really struck.
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pookaseraph
Feb. 12th, 2012 03:03 am (UTC)
Well, it works for me! And thank you, I will try.

And wonderful, I have a good number of works so if ATKM wasn't squicky for you you'll likely have no trouble with the rest of my fic and there's a reasonably wide variety of it! I am pleased I can be an adorable darling! <3
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pookaseraph
Feb. 11th, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I love Charles so much as well. He did need several hugs throughout this fic though, don't you agree? He always seemed like the time to make that sort of sacrifice, imo, canon has them in very different circumstances but he knew what he wanted out of life and he was very loyal for it and... I think in the end we can sort of see him as finally having his loyalty repaid with the love he wants.

I'm glad you liked the ending those are always the hardest for me! I leave you with joy!
synekdokee
Feb. 12th, 2012 10:30 am (UTC)
I AM IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION



Hhahaahaa so satisfying, that scene between Charles and Shaw. HE HAD IT COMING. The creep.


I'm still kinda all ASDFGHJKLÖÄSHGD so writing a coherent, intelling reply is impossible. So I'll just thank you again for the amazing fill. This was like some amazing journey and I'm so sad it's over now :(( All the characters were so wonderfully written amd the plot was the the perfect mix of world-building politics and romance.

Aghshss *hugs*
pookaseraph
Feb. 12th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC)
*Hugs your emotions*

Good! I worried I'd pushed Charles too far in it, but honestly the guy just tried to rape him (with the intent of impregnating him, not that it would be better without that intent) and then tried to kill his unborn baby?! I think most people would shank-a-bitch in that situation.

Well "asdfj;aklj" is a good response, too? I'm glad you liked it start to finish, I really wanted to hit the highlights you asked for and yet also make it my own and it's always lovely to know that OP enjoyed it because... well, yes! Plot, world-building, politics and romance are how I roll.

*hugs back* thank you for letting me know how much you enjoyed.
mary_russell11
Feb. 12th, 2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
*hearts in her eyes*

dear author, I leave you with my heart at your feet as you have vowed me and charmed me and made me so happy with this incredible story!!! I have been following your writing on AO3 but this is by far my favourite story by you! here *presents you with her heart* take it*g*

I loved this from the beginning to the very end and I wish you would write many more in this 'verse but I do realize we have already been spoiled to the max with this story so I will be happy rereading this every so often *beams*
I love happy endings, I love emotionally-constipated!Erik who falls hard for gentle-yet-bad-mofo!Charles and I love most of all how you managed to write alpha!Erik and omega!Charles so in-character for those roles(one of my fave kinks, not ashamed to say!:-P) and yet you didn't make Charles into a wilting flower but instead a self-assured person who knows that, even ih he's a sub in any way doesn't mean he should't/can't fight for his rights or be any less appreciated. I do love alpha!Erik in alpha/omega 'verses and sub! Charles but I dislike how very often that leaves Charles with descriptions of helplessness and,well,being sth less...that's why I enjoyed your story so much because you really gave Charles brave heart and courage and independece he deserves imo....just, thank you!AND you gave them babieeeeees*laughs* I feel as if I prompted this story and I got everything I wanted and then some *g*

sorry for babbling, apparently that's how my hapiness likes to express itself, through verbal diahorrea *snickers*
pookaseraph
Feb. 14th, 2012 01:00 am (UTC)
Thank you! *takes your heart and keeps it safe*. I'm so pleased you really like my work.

Yes, as I've said above I'll probably not be doing more in this world, but obviously I'm going to continue to write all sorts of things and hopefully you will continue to enjoy those. Emotionally constipated Erik is a personal favorite, as is gentle mofo Charles, they feature frequently in my works. I'm a huge fan of these sorts of ... semi-subversive variations on stories, to be honest. And yes BABIES! They are super adorable! I'm glad! OP's happy, lots of other people are happy, it's a major win for me.

That's alright, I appreciate everything!
sumore
Feb. 12th, 2012 11:56 pm (UTC)
OMG, this is too good. I'm rather disappointed there isn't more. Please post it at AO3? I'm a rather devout follower of yours there ;)
pookaseraph
Feb. 12th, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC)
It will be up as soon as it gets a proper clean up, I promise! Thank you.
snowrose
Feb. 13th, 2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
<3
pookaseraph
Feb. 13th, 2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
<3
marmaladechic
Feb. 14th, 2012 02:34 am (UTC)
Awesome story! I love how your on your way to including all of their kids. David and Anya are rarely used in fanfic.

This was so much fun. It had just the right amount of fluff, angst, action, adventure...well you get the point :)
This isn't my first story of yours, and I got to say, you make the best AUs. Your new universes are so well thought out and interesting. Sometimes I wish there was a TV show or movie created for them.
I hope you keep writing!
pookaseraph
Feb. 15th, 2012 02:07 am (UTC)
Thank you! David and Anya are my favorite kids for exactly that reason (sometimes I think I overuse David)

Yay for well balanced and full of worldbuilding, I hope that those things tend to be my... hallmark or my calling card! Oh I would so watch the TV shows of my fics. That would be a joy. Thank you for the lovely comment!
miss_poste
Feb. 15th, 2012 02:02 am (UTC)
I'm so tired that I promised myself I'd read just a bit of this, but no. I read the entire ending. IT WAS FANTASTIC.

The confrontation with Shaw was terrifying and Charles was so Charles in his BAMFness. What a champion. I love that even in a situation that horrific, his essential character of being able to see the long view and do what is necessary, even if it isn't his preference, came through when it came time to decide Shaw's fate.

I deeply love that the King has become a sort of househusband while the Consort goes out and diplomatically tells the world what for. I LOVE THAT IDEA SO MUCH I WANT TO WRITE IT EPIC NORSE-STYLE ODES.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

*falls asleep on Pookaseraph*
pookaseraph
Feb. 15th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
Come now, you knew you wouldn't be able to stop, just admit it.

Charles! Yes, he was all BAMF and very terrified and not at all happy but he was able to be very Charlesy about it and realize that as much as he didn't want to kill Shaw, he had his moment and had his chance and he absolutely had to take it. I'm glad that shone through!

Indeed! I will accept your odes, my dear! <3

*uses miss_poste as a blanket*
clanwilliam
Feb. 15th, 2012 08:37 am (UTC)
Oh, I absolutely loved this - the references to Mendel! The haemophilia connection! BAMF!Charles!

I presume that Sean's sister didn't wind up married to Cain? Also, would love to know what happened when the Markos tried to use their connections - they're stupid enough to have done so, aren't they?
ryahhime
Feb. 16th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
Eeeeee, you finished this! And with a happy ending! I loved it. <3
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )